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Tamil Nadu: Women Lack Access To Contraceptive Options

One of the most urbanized states of the country, Tamil Nadu has witnessed an eight percent decrease in the use of all forms of contraceptives in the last decade. This decline in contraceptive use is bad news for women.

Tamil Nadu: Women Lack Access To Contraceptive Options

Decline in contraceptive use in Tamil Nadu poses risk to women

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Tamil Nadu witnessed an eight percent decrease in use of contraceptives
  2. This decline in contraceptive use is bad news for women
  3. More women may have to undergo abortions or take emergency contraception

One of the most urbanized states of the country, Tamil Nadu has witnessed an eight percent decrease in the use of all forms of contraceptives in the last decade. This is five percent higher than the national average. The stats have been given by the Family Health Survey conducted in 2015-2016. This decline in contraceptive use is bad news for women because it may mean more women would have to undergo abortions or may have to take emergency contraceptives. Both these options are fatal to a woman's health at a later stage.

contraceptive use in tamil nadu

Health risk for women in Tamil Nadu
Photo Credit: iStock

As per the NFHS 2005-2006, 61.4% population of the state used some form of contraceptive but recent data brings it down to 53.2% only. Stats have put the experts to shock given the modernization and urbanization of medical systems which should have improve the availability of a good variety of contraceptives in the market.

Also read: The Best Birth Control Options For Women Above 35

Failure of this theory has lead to more and more women opting for Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP), says Poonam Muttreja, the executive director of Population Foundation of India.

"The other possibility is more women are using morning-after pills, which on repeated usage can have serious side-effects," she said.

Recent NFHS data also reveals that total 'unmet need for family planning' is 10.1 per cent. This has only seen a 0.1 per cent decrease in the past ten years.

'Unmet need for family planning' concerns those women who are capable of childbearing and are not using contraception to postpone the next birth or stop childbearing altogether. Though no clear studies explain this, three main factors can be stated responsible for this decline.

1. Poor access to modern contraceptives

2. Low awareness of the same

3. Poor management of contraceptive side-effects

30% health workers have discussed the necessity of family planning with women. This number has shot up by 10% in the past decade.

"It is counselling and awareness that most women lack. They don't think family planning is a decision they can take by themselves and they do not have a friendly environment to discuss it with family," says MC Aruna, a project officer at a Primary Health Centre at Perambalur district.

Data shows that out of the population, who opted for family planning, 93% contribution has been due to female sterilization and pills and condoms have contributed only two percent for the same.

"Devices such as Copper T are not preferred as it hurts men during intercourse. However, very few families consider the pain faced by women," says Dr NS Kanimozhi, a gynaecologist from Cloudnine Hospitals.

Vaginal rings and injectable contraceptives are being availed at government hospitals. Tamil Nadu government recently launched the 'Antara scheme' wherein they provide free injectable contraceptives to women aged 18-45 three times a year. These schemes are helpful for women who do not wish to become infertile but want to delay their pregnancy. 



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